Ballantine, Peter (1791–1883) was a Scottish immigrant to the United States who founded the Ballantine Brewing Company.
Ballantine was born in Dundee, Scotland. He immigrated to the United States in 1820, settling in Albany, New York. There he learned to brew and by 1830 had opened his own brewery. A decade later, he moved to Newark, New Jersey, in order to be closer to the lucrative New York City market and partnered with Erastus Patterson to lease General John R. Cumming’s old High Street Brewery that had been built in 1805, which the pair operated as the Patterson & Ballantine Brewing Co.
Five years later, in 1845, Ballantine quit the partnership and built a new brewery along the Passaic River, which became a successful ale brewery. In 1857, Ballantine brought his three sons—Peter H., John, and Robert—into the business with him. Twenty years later, P. Ballantine & Sons was the fourth largest brewery in the nation and the only ale brewery among the top 20.
Around this same time, the brewery began using the iconic three-ring logo, with each ring symbolizing purity, body, and flavor. The rings are technically known as Borromean rings and were also an early symbol for the Christian trinity. Legend has it that Peter Ballantine came up with the design after seeing the rings that were left on a table by the condensation on beer glasses.
When Peter Ballantine passed away in 1883, his sons continued running the brewery until the last one, Robert, passed away in 1905. The brewery then passed to George Frelinghuysen, who was married to Sara Ballantine, his granddaughter.